Sunday, November 27, 2005

"Frozen Testicles" would also be a good name for a band. As would "Cavernous Bellybutton."

Here is what my family thinks is quality entertainment: getting up at 4 a.m. to stand in line for 20 minutes in 14-degree weather and talk about my sister's bellybutton. Seriously. I laughed really hard.

So we decided this year that we were going to do the Black Friday thing. My parents and sister came to visit me here in IC for Thanksgiving, meaning that there were actual shopping options closer than 60 miles away. Plus, my computer is dying a slow, agonzing death, and I wanted to attempt to get one of the cheap computers Best Buy was offering. I figured that maybe IC was the place to try, since the college students had all gone home and maybe everybody else was just too practical and Midwestern-complacent to be out at the ridiculous hour of 5 a.m. Alternately, I hoped they would be at Wal-Mart rioting in the electronics section.

Unfortunately, when we arrived at Best Buy a little after 4:30, we were approximately 200th in line, so there was little to no chance I was going to get one of the approximately two cheap computers Best Buy used to lure in suckers like me. I have no idea why we decided to go ahead and wait in line until 5 a.m., especially after overly energetic Best Buy employees told us they were only letting in staggered groups of people, reducing the chance that someone would be hilariously crushed against the doors.

Wait in line we did, though, with somewhat more purpose after we got ahold of a copy of the ad and SB found some memory chips on a crazy deal. In the meantime, my sister had slurped down her travel mug full of extra-strong coffee and become animated enough to talk. Her conversational topic of choice? The bellybutton. Let me try to recapture for you the gist of the exchange.

E3: Oh my gosh. I cleaned my bellybutton for the first time the other day.
Me and M4: blank looks
E3: It's huge in there!
Me: What?
E3: It's huge! My bellybutton is cavernous.
Me: laughing There are stalactites?
E3: I could keep things in there. You know how some people just have polite little bellybuttons? That's not me.
Me: I think I see a lichen.
E3: Seriously. Like half a Q-Tip fit in there.
Me: Laughing so hard I can't see. You know if you press on your bellybutton, you can really gross Grandma out?
M4: Yeah, she doesn't like that.
E3: Yeah, I'm afraid if I stick my finger in there I won't get it back out.
Look, somone put their travel mug over there. We should steal it.

Lord only knows what the people next to us in line thought, especially when we reenacted the whole conversation for SB when he got back from warming himself in the car. However, the point about the travel mug was well taken. It was silver and shiny, and when we came out of Best Buy, it was still there. So E3 stole it.

We did finally make it into Best Buy in the fifth group; of course, the computers were unavailable and the store was a crush, which made both me and my sister feel claustrophobic, so we discussed that, loudly. We sent SB off to find his chips and wandered across the store to look at DVDs. This was a fatal error. If I can offer you one piece of advice about Black Friday, it is this: stick together. You will never find each other otherwise.

So the Best Buy experience was irritating, not least because "helpful" employees asked me every five seconds if they could help me find something. It got to the point where I wanted to say, "Yeah, you can help me find something. Where's my DAD?"

Anyway, we eventually found my dad, who had found his chips, and we sent him off to check out while we assessed the situation at Target next door. There were only about 20 people milling in front of the Target door because, we discovered, Target didn't open until 6. We weren't really that thrilled to be waiting another 40 minutes, so we decided to just stand there and people-watch until SB came out of Best Buy. My mom borrowed a circular from some nice lady standing in front of us; I listened to the idiot behind me attempt to defend his choice of outerwear. "It's a sweatshirt! It's the same thing as a coat!" Bzzt. I have no sympathy for your frozen testicles, you fantastic example of Darwinism, you. Nor do I want to hear about them anymore.

By 5:40, SB still hadn't come out of Best Buy and the line at Target was up to about 100 people, of which we were the 25th, by M4's count. At that point, we could hardly give up our fantastic position in line, even though we were freezing and still didn't want to buy anything despite now being fully informed of the available deals. At 5:50, approximately 150 people in line, still no SB. Finally, at 5:55, SB (and E3, who had gone to steal Best Buy's heat on the pretense of looking for him) joined us. SB: "What are we doing here?" Good question, Dad.

We walked into Target on the nose of 6 a.m., but not before we got to watch a little drama unfold—a woman tried to cut in line! Oh, the horror. Frozen Testicles set up such a ruckus that the security guard was forced to step in and keep her out. Shut up, Frozen Testicles. She's not going to take your $98 acoustic guitar.

In the end, we decided to hit J.C Penney, as well. I ended up buying a shirt and couple of cheap DVDs; SB got a few things at Penney's (including a cute pair of brown loafers I stuck on his pile just as the saleslady was finised scanning his items; she had them scanned and in a bag before he could say "boo"). Afterwards we went to Perkins and got some eggs, where my sister continued her bizzare conversational ways by announcing that she thinks she farts more than the average person.

So that was our Black Friday experience, or at least the interesting part of it. Next year I think I'll follow E4's example: stay home and sleep, and hope that someone brings me a cinnamon roll when I finally crawl out of bed.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

A zillion years later

Thanksgiving break is here, except for the part where it's not so much a break as "finals." I have nine days (well, seven, now) to write two papers and an untold number of journal entries. Let me tell you, woe is me indeed. Especially since I haven't been doing much school work these first two days, and my apartment still has to be cleaned for when my parents and sisters arrive. Sorry, guys, but clean sheets might be the best I can do. We'll see.

Anyway, some tidbits:

—You can make a root beer float with diet root beer, but I wouldn't advise it. I don't know why, but it does something wonky to the ice cream. Must be the sugar/aspartame interaction. However, since I don't really believe in normal soda, I suppose this'll have to do. Life is hard when you want to keep your teeth in your head. (By the way, I've always thought it was extremely gross to think of your teeth being in your head, even though that's clearly where they're located. It makes me think of someone biting through my skull. Yuck.)

—I went to see Walk the Line yesterday, and thoroughly enjoyed it, although I'm unclear on what distinguishes it from a well-done made-for-T.V. movie. Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon, I guess. In any case, the theatre was enjoyably free of the slavering prepubescents in love with Daniel Radcliffe, but it didn't save me from the annoying phenomenon of the Narrating Couple. Sitting just behind me was a couple who felt the need to explain extemely unsubtle plot points in a tone that was nowhere near under their breath. It went something like this: Reese Witherspoon writes down "burn burn burn" on a piece of paper and plays a note on her autoharp. Couple: "Oh, she's writing 'Ring of Fire.'" Johnny Cash stumbles around on stage and eventually falls down. Couple: "He's still taking those drugs, huh?" Brilliant analysis there, Nostradamus of the Cinema. Why don't you go see if you can figure out who put Harry's name in the Goblet of Fire?

—I have been reading a lot of Dinosaur Comics. I don't know why, but I find the premise of a comic with the same drawings every day to be very funny. And of course, the writing is hysterical. Check it out.

—Did you know that people in the Middle Ages were super concerned about what would happen to their bodies after they died? It's because they were sure that Jesus was going to return and take them to heaven body and soul on Judgment Day. If you don't have a body, then you don't get to go to heaven. So burial. (I don't really know how they dealt with decomposition. Jesus can give you back your skin and internal organs, I suppose, if He wants to.) Cremation was right out. And there's a lot of really cool art of angels making birds and snakes and lions regurgitate body parts that they've apparently eaten. The Middle Ages: simultaneously gross and awesome. I am writing about all of this for my Chaucer paper—it's not just a random interest. As opposed to my interests in cannibalism and zombies.

—If you're wondering what I might be teaching you next semester with these little factoids, I can give you a SNEAK PREVIEW. I registered for classes last week. As of right now, I am taking: Shakespeare! It's a class on all the plays nobody reads, so get ready for some wild Timon of Athens trivia. Also, Medieval Gesture and Emotion! Hopefully with 20% more cannibalism! And, Calligraphy: Gothic Hands! I think Gothic Hands would be a pretty good name for a band. I have used more exclamation points in this tidbit than I like to use in a week. I hope you're happy.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

In which the following things are mentioned: incest, cannibalism, bastards, hell, technicolor pig slippers

So November is shaping up to be de los muertos, and I'm not talking about All Souls' Day. I spent this weekend writing another theory paper and generally trying to map out a strategy for the rest of the semester, which i going to be...challenging, to put it euphemistically.

In other news...Lyra ate a Post-It tab yesterday, which was simultaneously horrifying and hilarious. I stuck it on her shoulder; she pulled it off and swallowed it. Clearly my fault entirely, but I've never known her to eat anything else plastic. Evidently the adhesive makes it go down easier.

I gave blood today, at a blood drive run by undergraduate pre-meds. You can just imagine what that was like—three 18-year-olds telling me I had to sit down for fifteen minutes and drink some red Kool-Aid. (Which, by the way? Red Kool-aid at a blood drive is perhaps not the best choice ever for avoiding overtones of vampirism.) I bled in seven minutes, sat down for ten, and then ran away from the super-intense chicks talking about their potential shadowing assignments. Seriously, kids, lighten up. You're not going to get into med school, anyway, because I know your rhetoric teacher and she doesn't like you. Bonus: two girls fainted while I was there, and another's vein collapsed. Awesome.

October's rallying cry was "No Heat 'til November!" Now that November's arrived, I'm being rewarded for my holdout: it's been 70 here during the day, and at night I can get by adding a sweatshirt and the technicolor pig slippers. I'm tempted to extend "No Heat 'til November!" 'til December, but then I wake up with a face-full of heat-sucking cat in the morning and I reconsider. I'm getting way more than my RDA of fur that way.

Random things in which my interest has been rekindled since starting school (and hanging out with weirdos like me on a full-time basis): science fiction, the Plague, zombies, boys with earrings, cannibalism, hell, and the domestic arts. Having lunch in the graduate student lounge is a grab-bag of randomness, let me tell you. Today's topics of discussion were: weddings, how to make the sign of the cross, classes for next semester, overseas phone calls, the Indian caste system, and incest. The English department needs Conversational Ritilin.

All right, I'm going to tell you now: don't expect an update until Thanksgiving week. I've got the whole week off, and I'll be sure to regale you with tales of my Chaucer paper (on demons, sin, and the body in the Friar's Tale) and my South Asian Lit paper (on grandmothers, grandsons, and the developing political atmosphere of mid-century India). Until then...don't let the bastards get you down. Or something.